Yesterday, we brought you “Quoth Azalea, the Demon (Rhododendoom II),” the first track off the new Botanist album “III: Doom in Bloom.” It marked a new chapter in the story of the Botanist, who is influenced more aggressively by Azalea to bring on the end of mankind. We also got the first taste of the approach to this new opus, which is longer songs, slower tempos, more eeriness, and spacious Apocalypse. It’s quite astonishing and moving.
Today we have yet another new step for Otrebor, the man behind Botanist. Without going into too much detail now – he explains it thoroughly in the interview below – there were some ideas left over, and he decided to collaborate with some other like-minded musicians on a companion disc called “Allies.” So yes, the title is pretty self-explanatory. But unlike Botanist’s normal drums/hammered dulcimer formula, these are full-band compositions that put a totally different spin on Otrebor’s work. And just like the first cut from “III,” prepare to be blown away.
Below, check out the cut “The War of All Against All” from the group dubbed Cult of Linnaeus, a moniker that is fully explained below. This song is pulverizing, unsettling, and as raucous, and even having heard the song many times myself, I still keep finding fresh pockets of wonder and explosive majesty every time I go back. Hear it for yourself, and read what Otrebor has to say about the “Allies” disc.
Meat Mead Metal: “Allies” is the companion disc to “III.” Talk about how this collection of songs came to be.
Otrebor: “III: Doom in Bloom’s” story starts in spring of 2008, when the drums were recorded. Although the idea that eventually would become Botanist had already been conceived, this recording pre-dates the inception of the project proper — the drums were intended for a doom project that never happened. However, the drum recordings were real, as was the money paid for the drum recordings… so instead of eating it all, I saw it as a great opportunity to make a unique chapter in Botanist’s discography, and a cool progression from the tone of “I” and “II.”
Even before “I” and “II” were made, friends of mine had expressed enthusiasm to record to the kind of drums recorded during that session in 2008. Considering there were way more drum tracks recorded than I needed for a full-length album, I invited those initial friends to make a song around drums from what would become the “III” sessions. The music could be in any style, and the drums could be chopped up and manipulated in any way of their choosing. The only rule would be that their songs had to be somehow related to the Natural world. This became more and more of an interesting idea that it seemed mandatory to release these songs along with “III,” and so I recruited more people to make music so there would be as many tracks on the Botanist side as there on the Allies side.
MMM: How does this disc work in companion with “III” philosophically? Was it important to play with other people tuned into your mission?
Otrebor: I see the result of Allies via a variety of perspectives: One is that the songs are vistas into alternate universes of what Botanist could sound like if it were an actual band made up of more than one person playing the industry standard guitar/bass/drums… with a few oddities thrown in. Like a saw.
Another is that Allies is like a “remix” album that transcends the notion what “remix” means — instead of manipulating compositions that already exist, alternate reality compositions are made. If Botanist is the Bizarro version of extreme metal, then Allies is the Bizarro version of Botanist.
Another shade of perspective is that the Allies songs are kind of like cover songs, except the covers in this case are originals. Maybe. Or maybe they are alternate originals that float out there, tied to the main project via one set of drum recordings. You be the judge.
MMM: “Cult of Linnaeus: The War Against All” is being premiered today. Why have you chosen this song to introduce to the world?
Otrebor: Cult of Linnaeus was the first group of people to express interest in recording to the “III” drums. Their name and concept came much later, but what did come helped to capture the interest in Botanist (even if that perception largely came from misunderstanding — Botanist has never written anything about Carl Linnaeus). Even now I get fan mail recommending books about Linnaeus. I think it’s great, and I hope that Cult of Linnaeus helps Matt Harper and Alex Lindo promote their main project, Nero Order. Their track was the first to be completed, and it kicks ass.
While we’re name dropping, I’ll also list the other Allies who are in/have been in established projects: Max Doyle from Grayceon and Walken, Jack Shirley from Comadre, Zaragil and Amalgamoth from Ophidian Forest (another band I’m in… appearing on Allies as Ophidian Forest), and Nathan Berlinguette from Creation Is Crucifixion, 5/5/2000, and a bunch of other projects. I can’t keep up with that guy.
MMM: With this full-band presentation, could we possibly see more compositions like these on future albums?
Otrebor: Probably not. But I won’t say never.
Botanist’s albums, including III and the debut, I: The Suicide Tree / II: A Rose From the Dead, can be purchased digitally and physically from the band’s Bandcamp, (www.verdant-realm-botanist.bandcamp.com), from Aquarius Records (www.aquariusrecords.org), or directly from the label (www.totalrust-music.com).
NOTE: Our thanks to Otrebor for partnering with Meat Mead Metal on this venture. This is one of my favorite things we’ve ever done on this site, and you can bet you’ll hear more about “III: Doom in Bloom” soon.